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U.s. 37, China 27, Us 23, Joe Biden 15, New York 13, Hamid Karzai 12, Illinois 11, Detroit 11, Al Jazeera America 10, North Korea 9, Stephanie Sy 8, Cuba 8, Brussels 8, Nashville 7, United States 7, Ukraine 7, Minneapolis 7, Hezbollah 6, Un 6, John Kerry 6,
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  Al Jazeera America    News    News/Business. Breaking and in-depth news coverage from  
   America and around the world and the latest in sports and...  

    December 4, 2013
    6:00 - 9:01am EST  

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the commuter train crash investigation is now focused on the engineer. there's new information that he may have been asleep at the switch before the train went off the rails. a federal judge green liabilities detroit's bankruptcy plan, the ruling allowing the city to cut retiree pensions. >> joe biden's trying to find a diplomatic solution over disputes between china and japan. >> he's alive. >> what started as a recovery mission becomes a stunning rescue.
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the sole survivor of a capsize at sea stuck from days on the bottom of the atlantic. a good morning and welcome to al jazeera america. it's good to have you with us. i'm drait. in a major development. the engineer of the train apparently admitted to a nunion representative that he nodded off at the controls. it happened while the train travelled at 82 miles per hour. the ntsp removed the commoout ear rail employees union, citing a breach of confidentiality when they talked to the media. >> al jazeera correspondent has the latest on the investigation. >> for the first time since the
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metro north train derailment leaving four dead and dozens injured attention is shifting from mechanical failure, focussing on the train's engineer. >> based on this data, there's no indication that the brake systems were not functions properly. >> it was suggested from william rockefeller's camp that human error was ta play. saying that he became dazed, suffering highway hypnosis. william rockefeller revealed to a union official that he had nodded off. >> sometimes if a momentary nod, you can't tell. he caught himself, too late. >> william rockefeller has been with the metro line for 20 years. critical errors will be scrutinised, including did he
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have enough sleep. he reportedly went to sleep at 8:30. sleeping for about seven hours. employees are to have eight hours of rest for time off. with no traces of alcohol or no evidence of the use of a cell phone, they'll look into william rockefeller's schedule to determine if he was overworked. william rockefeller was in the second day of a 5-day work week, a schedule started two weeks prior to the crash. >> was the engineer fully conscious at all times? it's premature to be able to say yes he was or wasn't. >> there was no equipment failure or track problem. it's a situation. >> william rockefeller is cooperating. he has been placed on unpaid leave. his union rep says he's
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traumatised. >> i don't know how he's coping with the fact that he may have been responsible for the death of four people and 63 injured. i can't imagine that. knowing the type of personality he is, that's going to weigh on him for the rest of his life. >> with the flipped car cleared back to travelling along the route, answers as to what happened won't come quickly. the m.t.s.b. said a final report will not be ready for months. >> the new york police department is investigating, and being assisted by the bronx district attorney in the event it becomes a criminal says. moving to a tale of two cities. then and now. detroit, the home of mo town and the auto industry. detroit officials breathe a sigh of relief when a michigan judge rules that the city may enter
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bankruptcy. pensions and other retirement benefits may be cut. bond holders stand to face major losses. diane eastabrook has more. >> judge steven rhodes' ruling gives the state management officer the go ahead to sell city assets. reinstruct debts. detroit municipal workers and retirees protested. david seoul called the ruling a death sentence for detroit. >> services will be slashed. pensions on the chopping block. art institute, water department sold off. >> the judge said bankruptcy may be the only way to breathe new life into detroit given an $18 billion debt. crumbling infrastructure and high crime rate. in the rule the judge said:
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>> in a controversial decision rhodes said retiree pensions could be on the chopping block saying the state's constitution treats them like any other contract. the unions will press their case with emergency manager kevyn orr are. when you are a creditor, you make investment additions. if you work for the city of detroit and someone says, "sorry, didn't mean it." it's a terrible situation. orr said he would work with the unions, but wouldn't make promises. >> we are trying to be thoughtful, measured and humane about what we have to do. the reality is there's not enough money to address the situation no matter what we do.
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>> al jazeera's diane eastabrook reporting. behind cutting worker pensions and retirement potentials the city may sell water and priceless art collection. the judge that gave the green light for the chapter nine actions said selling the collection would not help the city avoid bankruptcy. judge steven rhodes said auctioning the arts would have been a one-time infusion of cash by selling an asset, delaying the city's inevitable financial failure. >> lawmakers and illinois take access trying to solve their pension crisis. retiree benefits were trimmed. governor pat quinn said he will sign it. unions threaten to sue. the illinois employee pension system has an unfunded liability of $100 million.
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illinois has serious debt problems and says: >> a court ruling gives employers a way to give workers from not suing them. employers may require employees to waive their rights to file class action law suits, helping to avoid costly court cases about overtime and wage issues. workers will not be able to ban together over workplace disputes. >> the midwest rapped in a chill. let's go to nicole mitchell, meteorologist. good morning, the temperatures dropped scantly after the last few days, and going down more as we head to the weekend. look at the national pictures.
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parts of colorado, and into the northern area of minnesota. that's where we have seen a couple of persistent bands. if you go back not to 5am yesterday or 5am the day before. you have consistent know since then, and the totals, places north, like two harbours over two feet. you may think it sounds awful and there has been a lot of accidents. people are starting to rack up the cross country skiing. more on the way today. as we go over time, it's blowing. temperatures are dropping and we have at winter storm warnings up. it is spreading south. some places to the south where we see fog. the combination of the warm hair, dense fog, arkansas and texas, we saw some of this, making the driving difficult to see out here. but this is going to be replaced as we get into the next couple
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of days. by tomorrow the front dropping to the south and right along the boundary there could be enough of an exchange of a little bit of warm air with the cold air coming as areas of freezing rain. in the meantime this is pushing to the coast. portions of the east coast not getting the big chill, but the temperatures going down likely in time for the weekend which i know is not the most cooperative thing out there. as we continue. by the time we get to friday, tens, teens and negative for the weekend. back to you. >> big changes on the way, vice president joe biden is in china, the second stop on his trip to the east. japan and china both claim a group of islands in the east china sea, and china declared
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that its air defend zone includes area above then. >> we the united states are concerned by the attempt to change the status quo in the east china sea. before biden arrives, chinese defense officials issued a statement reaffirming the military claim on the area. >> protesters in thailand are cleaning up the mess, hoping to tidy up the streets. a leader said demonstrations would be suspended out of respect for the king, but would resume for the ceremony honouring him. they want the prime minister to resign. it's music to their ears, professional musicians getting health insurance for the first time. why some are jumping on the obamacare bandwagon. a new way to plan for the golder years. 401k advisors with a different
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domestic philosophy. >> and one of the most chaotic places on earth. you are looking live at the christmas tree in new york city. the tree will be lit tonight. tñ
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you're waking up to a live look at denver international airport where the snow is falling and more is on the way. >> good morning to you and welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm thomas drayton. the possible pitfalls in what is a popular way to save for retirement. first, let's check out what the temperatures are doing across the nation. meteorologist nicole mitchell. >> we talked about the snowy side of this, but the cold air side is dramatic. two days ago we had temperatures in the 40s. some of the highs in the next couple of days may not go above zero.
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with that, dramatic temperature changes between yesterday and today. denver, 30 degrees cooler than we were yesterday. and, of course, that is supporting the snow that we see across the region. >> the cold air is spreading to places that are warm, ahead of the front. we'll not see that much longer. enjoy the temperatures. places like memphis could get up to 74. windchills below zero. watch for that. >> protesters in ukraine threaten to tighten the blockade around government buildings. [ chants ] >> they have already taken over kiev city hall and occupied a key plaza in the capital. the demonstrators are persisting after a no confidence vote in the counter government failed. al jazeera's rory challands
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joins us from kiev. russia's prime minister said it's important to be order. how are the ukrainian people responding to the statement? >> well, the ukrainian people don't all think with one mind. this is a complicated country with deep divisions within it. there's a split that runs pretty much down the middle. so you have the west side of the country, which broadly looks to the west and wants further integration with europe, and the east which has more of an identification with russia. that's a simplistic way of looking at it. it has a degree of truth. the pull towards russia is not shared by everyone. and the people here protesting in kiev are the ones who want further integration with europe.
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that's what they are here for. that triggered the process thing when viktor yanukovych tore up a proposed agreement further integrating europe and the ukraine. that started the protests. now it seems to have morphed into something that is - as the people here say, more of a revolution. they want the government gone completely. they want viktor yanukovych out of office. >> as we look at the live pictures, ukrainians taking part in the demonstrations show no signs of stopping soon, but at the same time ukraine's president is in china. the deputy prime minister is in russia heading for talks there. is the government listening to the demands of the ukrainian people? >> that depends on which people you talk to. basically as i was saying, there's a split in ukraine, and
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a chunk of the country that is supportive of the government and a chunk that isn't. the government says it doesn't have to listen to the protesters in independence square, but says they are the opposition, not representative of the country at large, and the opposition parties are a minority in government. they don't hold a huge amount of power. so i think the government here is feeling that it is reasonably secure and it won that no confidence vote yesterday. it seems to be able to turn to the protesters at the moment and say, "we don't have to listen to you." >> the situation continues, rory challands in ukraine. the house passes a law after the sandy hook mass anger, banning guns that can't be spotted without x-rays and metal detectors. it focuses on plastic guns.
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advocates of stricter gun control says it's too easy to print and produce plastic guns. tougher laws were proposed after the newtown shootings but did not pass. >> health reform is under the way. it is to encourage sign-ups. president obama urged americans to ignore republicans saying they are rooting for the program to fail. >> i have always said i will work with anybody to implement and improve the law effectively. if you've got good ideas, bring them to me. let's go. but, we're not repealing it as long as i'm president. i want to make it clear about that. >> the sign up for deadlines who want medical coverage at the start of next year is december 23rdrd. it is pushing a nonprofit group in nashville to help struggling
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musicians navigate the side. robert ray has that story. [ ♪ music ] >> look in any direction, on any corner, and there is a singer, is a song writer and mel oddy maker. nashville. where local drummer andy has been playing clubs for 30 years. living gig to gig, with little and sometimes no health insurance. >> they were hard to qualify for, if you had pre-existing conditions, you were out of it. the nature of being a musician is like a roller-coaster ride. >> the music industry has a major economic impact. it's most visible here in nashville. despite the money that the musicians bring in, 76% have no access to group health care benefits. >> you would be surprised at the amount of people we have talked to in the last 2-3 months that make less than 12,000 a year.
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>> that's a reason a new nonprofit organization working on a bare bones budget, the music health alliance in nashville has counselled members about health services soon to be available. >> we are helping the people before they get on the radio and after they've hit their heyday. >> it's clients are artists like drummer andy peak who received help dealing with the healthcare.gov website over the past two months. >> if you have someone sitting with you and try to navigate and you keep getting kicked off, getting back on is difficult. >> former record company executives like bidy and dunn who run the health alliance feels it is worth the temporary frustrations of the affordable care roll out. >> a lot of it is education. they don't understand what it is
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and are afraid to go through the process. >> for andy peak the partial government shutdown created confusion and fear about the affordable care act. >> i didn't want to punch the bottom and sign up to pay $280-$300, adding it to my meagre month to month income. >> as the dust settles counselling from the music heath alliance allowed him to take a look and sign up. he'll pay around $150 a month. and for a career musician, that could allow him to pursue his passion of performing for the rest of his life. the administration says healthcare.gov is functional for 80% of users. let's get a look at the morning business headlines. european and u.s. banks are expected to be hit with a fine for manipulating key interest rates. reuters says six bangs will be
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fined more than $2 million. they rigged bench marks determining the cost of lending from mortgages the banks involved. more regulations will be invoked. banks would be banned from doing anything for their own game. the new rule was imposed by president obama three years ago. we'll learn whether the housing recovery lost momentum. some data was delayed by the shut down. increases are expected despite higher mortgage rates. one economists says it's not just institutional investors helping the housing markets.. >> now you are seeing a lot of home buyers who are not
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institutional investors, who have better credit scores, and have decided that the time is about good to start buying home. and bankers are becoming more confident about the situation. >> we'll get a hint about friday's anticipated jobs report. payroll firm reports on how many private sector jobs were created last month. wall street has some of its moo back. after the do you closed lower on tuesday for a third straight day. the do you jones falling blow the 15,000 mark. the nasdaq holding above the 4,000 level. overseas european markets struggle to bounce back after three days of losses. markets ended the day lower. japan led the cle client, with the nikkei falling. chinese shares rallied on news
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of financial reforms in the region. when it comes to planning for retirement. half of the u.s. workers are counting on the 401ks. some of them are worried it went be efficient and are turning to advisors. stacy tisdale has more. >> sandy, a 47-year-old manager at accenture figures she'll need $4 million to have a financially secure retirement. >> china, australia, new zealand. i want to go to them freely and not worry about pinching pennies. >> sandy, a single mother who does not believe social security will be around. even though she paid close attention to the market. she realised that the rate her money was going, she couldn't
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have enough. she found compass investors horizon, which looks at people like sandy on an individual basis. clients unfortunate figure out how much it costs. the strategy, get to the magic number as quickly as possible. to get you there compass looks at choices available and gives you trades to execute. compass tells investors to bypass funds. i wanted to provide income forever, if possible. you can do that by growing your accounts large enough, putting them into vehicles paying you essentially an interest, everything you would have been getting for your salary. compass charges $600 a year. active 401km gives you active trading suggestions for $120.
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trackers suggest trades. the maximiser does the same for about $100. the lower cost companies offer general trading portfolios. critics point out that these companies and trading advice is not regulated and are not held accountable. financial vizors question this controversial practice, warning that moving in and out of investments are designed to provide value, making time your enemy and your friend. >> you are not giving me time to let me thesis play out. >> the fund manager's job is to create funds that are useful for someone who is 22 joining the term or someone who is 65 and retired. >> a woman who has a clear vision of what she wants her
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life to look like when she retires. >> according to how manian research consulting firm, a worker wanting to retire needs savings equivalent to 11 years salary. >> why two sets of scientists have different ideas as to how yasser arafat died. the u.s. launches drones for the first time. how they use the unmanned planes to focus on a global hot spot. >> and a shocking discovery at the bottom. ocean. a man trapped in a sunken boat for three days. >> in sport, if you can't sign them, deal them. new york yankees signed a boston red sox all star. details in a bit.
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a live look at what it's like driving through the denver area. it's 7 degrees. take it slow, a light snow is falling with more expected
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throughout the day. welcome back to al jazeera. i'm thomas drayton. let's look at some of the top stories. the engineer at the controls. commuter train may have nodded off before the crash, according to a union rep who spoke with the driver, william rockefeller. alcohol tests on rock where are and the other crew members were negative. investigators say he would have had time to get a good night's sleep before his shift. the governor of illinois will sign a bill to eliminate the pension shortfall. it's been opposed. they say it's un fair to workers and retirees. >> vice president joe biden was supposed to talk trade on the trip to china, instead the focus is on the air defense zone. china specified action over planes that enter the air zone.
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>> a spokesman for a lebanese organisation says a hezbollah consider was killed. hezbollah is blaming israel. it is a powerful political and military organization made up of shia muslims. >> hezbollah is pointing the finger at saudi arabia for an attack on an iranian embassy. the double suicide bombing in beirut killed 25. a group linked to al-qaeda your claimed responsibility. on lebanese tv the chief said he believed they had links to saudi arabia intelligence agents. >> forensic scientists in francaise yasser arafat was not killed by polonium poisoning.
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randall pinkston has more. >> in death, as in life yasser arafat is a lightening rod for controversy. nine years after his burial, forensic experts in france came to the conclusion he was not killed by poisoning. they said his death was caused by polonium. the french scientists found traces consistent with a natural environment and it did not cause the death. arafat's widow reacted. >> you can imagine to what extent i'm upset by the contradictions. >> when al jazeera report though r that swiss scientists found
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lie levels in clothing that yasser arafat had on. arafat's widow, a french citizens insisted on an exhumation. 60 tissue samples were distributed to france and russia. swiss scientists reported the likelihood that arafat was poisoned. they are characteristic of him having a dose of polonium before he died. those levels are about 36 times what you would expect. >> according to palestine officials russian scientists reported the role of polonium is inconclusive. it was suggested that it may have come from naturally occurring gases. ruben randle al jazeera. >> arafat died in a french hospital nine years ago.
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the official cause of death was listed as a stroke. french doctors said they were unable to determine what caused the illness. >> a young dictator may are removed his uncle from power and had to aides executed. kim jong un's uncle was vice chairman of a commission. he had been purged before. north korea is not commenting. there's no independent confirmation. >> there is new information in the case of 85-year-old u.s. veteran held by north korea. former comrades of merrill newman told the press that he led a guerilla group in the korean war. it was one of the army's special forces units. veterans said it was hated and feared by north korea. merrill newman was pulled from an airliner six years ago after visiting north korea as a tour iment.
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>> an american man imprisoned in cuba is appealing for help. he was arrested in cuba whilst trying to set up an internet for the community. the only way he'll be released is with the president's help. the white house said it's trying to secure his relief. the president has engaged other figure to use their influence with cuba to promote the release. the cuban government made clear the importance that the united states places on his welfare. >> gross's wife said he lost a lot of weight and his hopes are fading. according to research, for the first time in four decades a majority of americans say the u.s. is less powerful than it was a decade ago. 70% think the u.s. is less
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respected by other counties than in the past. moth of those polled 68% believe the u.s. military is the strongest in the world. u.s. and n.a.t.o. leaders are meeting in bruls -- brussels hoping to percade hamid karzai to sign. keeping u.s. military troops past 2014. after a second day of talks, paul joins us. >> n.a.t.o. officials meet with afghan's foreign minister. could we be closer to a signature. >> i think the principal you have to think of when you talk about these meetings, is like an apple press. you tighten the pressure in the hope that the juice flows. there's a blockage in the
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pipeline. it is hamid karzai. he's not willing to sign the bilateral agreement. even john kerry will not speculate as to why he will not sign it. hamid karzai at the moment says no. susan rice went to kabul, he said no. as john kerry says on tuesday here in brussels, there are some 50 nations who are part of the effort to stablilize afghanistan. they have budgetary cycles, planning cycles, and you don't turn off military cycles like this. there has to be planning involved. n.a.t.o. says it needs the signature before the end of the year. n.a.t.o. officials said any signature will do. hamid karzai says he will not sign it until next year. could it strain relations with
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president hamid karzai. >> i think it already it. i mean, there's no doubt about it. john kerry here in brussels, when he gave a news conference, there was anxious in his voice, he said i had already done the deal. we had an agreement. it's as if he doesn't understand why hamid karzai won't put pen to paper. the point has been made in brussels, it doesn't have to be hamid karzai himself who signs the deal. it could be a member of his cabinet. at the moment he's not dell dating the authority to put the pen to paper. hamid karzai insists it has to be him. as a result we have stalemate. >> al jazeera's paul brennan live in brussels. thank you. >> the u.s. suspended shipments out v afghanistan through pakistan. the pentagon said tuesday that it's part of a plan to withdraw troops from afghanistan by the end of next year.
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the broader shutdown comes amid protests over u.s. drone strikes in pakistan. trucks must take outer routes through central asia - it will take time and cost more. >> the united nations a using drones, for the first time the u.n. confirms its peacekeepers are sending unmanned craft. it monitors the areas in the dong. >> it is a first, taking to the skies. the u.n. has fleets of white painted suvs. now the first united nations unmanned aerial aircraft more commonly known as a drone. unlike those of many militaries and the u.s., it's iquipped only with a camera, not armed with missiles. after years of bloodshed the idea is it to monitor a fragile peace deal, a large area, much
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remote jungle terrain. >> this is something we never had. in many armies or organizations. we had to get it to allow our people to do a better job. the current president of the u.n. security council, the french ambassador says drone technology is becoming commonplace, not much more sophisticated than a toy model aircraft. he believes the u.n. will use many more of them. >> translation: other missions are saying, "we will need drones that would improve protection of soldiers to see if threats are out there and ensure protection of civilians." >> for now the u.n., and the drones in the congo are a one off. their effectiveness is being closely monitored.
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>> the democratic republic of congo has claimed close to 300 lives, some as a direct result because of disease and malnutrition. the vatican is refusing a request about clenchy sexually abusing children. a survey was sent asking about details of abuse cases. the vatican said such information is confidential. the holly seer will not reveal the information unless requested by government or state for league at processing proceedings. pope francis will meet with the cardinal he picked to help reform the church. it's the second day of church. a church spokesperson says they are working on an indepth revision. six continents are represented on the council. the only representative is shaun
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o'-mallee from boston is the only american. a rare book is going online. the vatican worked with the oxford university. their collections will be digitis digitised. construction is behind schedule on brazilian stadiums. three stadiums will not be finished by the end of this month, a deadline set by f.i.f.a. two stadiums were expected to be finished by end of february. they were not sure about where the opening came is scheduled. the new york yankees making headlines again. >> that's the yankees. they are spending money and stirring it up with the red sox.
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they signed boston free agent jacoby ellsbury to a 7-year deal worth $153 million. brian mccann - jacoby ellsbury won two world series titles, he's a slick center fielder. 30 years young the big question has been can you stay healthy. where does that leave robinson. the yankees would like the keep canell. he wants to get paid. he's asking for $200 million over eight years. >> in sport, when things go bad you can tell a lot about a person's character. things are getting ugly. the friction not among the players, but the coaching staff. >> jason kidd reassigned lawrence frank to a role where
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he's head coach, and no longer will be able to attend practices. the nets struggling big time on defense led by frank. >> it's different philosophies, that's it. it will figure out how to stop people. >> how disappointing is that considering he was your coach. you had a great relationship before this? >> it's about basketball. it's about tonight and denver. you move forward. you know, you learn. the big thing is, you know, i'm focussed and have to have the guys ready to go. >> the night is worse for the kids in the net. >> in the third nuggets flying high. up, up and away. nuggets on a 27-37 run, the nets lose again. dropping to 5 and 13 on the season. >> straight to the miami heat.
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lebron james won 10 straight. do i hear 11. early on. the pivotons bring in the heat. oh, my goodness, lebron tries to rally the team back, rocking up 23 points. the pivotons too tough. yep, yep, pivotons win by 10, snapping a 10-game winning streak. cleans up the mess, it wasn't enough for miami. >> marcus staying on campus. mariota bypassing a 2014 nfl draft and returns for the junior season. in the process thomas turned down millions. he wants that education. >> hard to do, but it's worth it. >> social events are suspended
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at the university of california after a fourth student was diagnosed with meningitis. it's spread through close contact. it was a similar outbreak of a same strain. eight students were diagnosed. authorities do not believe the cases are related. >> certain cardiac defibrillators may not work as promised. the f.d.a. says they could fail to provide a needed shock in an emergency. more than 700,000 have been recalled since december 2012. there has been no reports of deaths or injuries. >> a stunning underwater res sue. >> he's alive. he's alive. >> a man dropped in a boat at the bottom of the atlantic ocean, how he manages to survive the terrifying ordeal. >> a bridge over troubled waters. why you were forced shut down
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the only stand to a popular destination. >> winter storm warnings are spreading south wards as a snow storm turns into an ice storm. >> a look at the snowy drive. it is down right cold. seven degrees this morning and more snow is on the tñway.
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kz welcome back to al jazeera america, i'm thomas drayton. just ahead. an amazing underwater rescue. a man managed to survive for three days in a drunken boat. first, the weather. in some cases it's places that have seen snow for a couple of days and more of it, like northern portions of minnesota. now minneapolis and all the way back to the rockies. utah set some records yesterday for the snow yesterday for
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december 3rdrd. as we get to the region here is what we are looking at, places like interstate 94. they'll be slick and slow. the problem is all of this spreads south, we have warmer air. what is snow now, and all the winter storm warnings here, as it gets south ward it could be areas of freezing rain. look at that motion. arkansas, oklahoma, by tomorrow morning's commute we could look at that. it takes 0.2 of an inch of rain to bring down tree branches. it looks like there could be enough. then as you watch that emotion, it spreads to parts of the east coast with not quite as much precipitation, but a cold week ahead. more on the cold side of this. >> coming up. safety concerns force the closure of a key bridge to a popular tourist spot. transportation officials barricaded the bridge, the main way to the banks.
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a scan revealed sand erosion has affected the bridge support structure. the bridge is the only highway access for a 60 mile stretch of the outer banks. residents and businesses say the closure will be devastating to the economy. there's no word on how long the bridge will be closed. state officials hint it could be months. a ferry system could be up and running. a round trip ride on the ferry will be 11 or 12 hours. american students are falling behind in the global classroom, according to test results focussing on maths, english and science. singapore, taiwan and south korea are at the top of the list. the american results were called a picture of stagnation. the test was given to 50-year-olds in 55 countries. a man was trapped for three days under water after his boat
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capsized off the coast of name earia. it was an accident that took the lives of many people. >> this was the mission to recover bodies from a boat. suddenly a rescue diver finds this. >> harrison survived for three days in a pocket of air, drinking water and fizzy drinks. is 11 of the crew died when it capsized and sank.
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>> a diver pulls harrison from the sunken boat. >> harrison is now safe and with a story of remarkable survival to tell. . >> it's amazing. he survived off one bottle of soda. >> anunderwater discovery of a different sore. this 400 foot mega-subways found
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off the sea floor of hawaii. it dates back to world war ii. it was one of five that met a similar fate. in australia a birt took a camera on the flight of its life. he took off on a 70 mile journey. the bird's flapping wings can be seen before it drops it. it pokes its self in a frame for an eagle selfie. >> two new york favourites will spend some time together. the piano man, will be a recurring act at maddison square garden. >> maddison squared garden was the place for me. >> he plans to play a concert every month. they'll start in january and keep going as loppings -- as
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long as his fans turn up >> look at this picture, of morgan freeman. it looks like a photograph. it was created with an ipad and a finger. it took artist kyle lambert 200 hours to create the image. as we wrap up the first shower stephy is here with some stories we are following. >> the engineer at the control of a derailed train in new york city was dazed. it was going 82 miles per hour when it left the tracks, killing four. vice president joe biden arrives in chooena, in meetings with chinese leaders. he is expected to discuss a territorial dispute. pensioners are taking a hit in michigan and illinois. on the same day he's lifting sanctions. lawmakers past a bill to cut retirees benefits.
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ahead in the next hour, rebooting obamacare, now that the health care website is improving the president is taking a push to get people to sign up. we'll look at his strategy to sell it to the american public. an invisible helmet working like an air bag. >> two rookies posting doubt in the same game. >> i'm metrologist nicole mitchell. the latest on the storm system spreading. >> al jazeera continues, stephanie and i are back in 2.5 minutes. we leave you with another live look at the snow falling in denver.
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asleep at the controls. an attorney for the engineer of the derailed train in new york says his client suffered what he called highway hypnosis, dozing off moments before the crash. balancing act, vice president joe biden arrives in china amid tensions over disputed air space between beijing and tokyo. the challenge of pacifying both moments. >> 911 tapes to be released from the sandy hook elementary school shooting as newtown residents look to put the tragedy behind them. >> i cycle, never on my head. why wear a helmet. >> the great helmet debate. is it essential safety gear for
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psych lifts. on the road - fashion for bike riders. a lawyer for the engineer of the new york commuter train that derailed said the man was nodding off as his train was travelling 82 miles per hour your. >> good to have you with us. welcome to al jazeera america. >> i'm stephanie sy. an attorney for william rockefeller said his client was in a daze. four passengers were killed, dozens injured when the train went off the track. we have the latest on the investigation. >> for the first time since sunday's metro north derailment outside metro city attention is drifting away focussing on the train's engineer.
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>> simply put, based on this data there's no indication that the break's systems were not suffering. >> on tuesday two members from william rockefeller's camp suggested human area was to blame. his attorney said he was daze the suffering highway hypnosis. william rockefeller revealed that he had nodded off to a union official. >> sometimes a momentary nod, whatever that might be, how long it lasts, i can't answer that. he caught himself, but too late. >> william rockefeller has been with metro north for 20 years, serving 11 as an engineer. it's the critical seconds before the crash that will be scrutinized, including whether he had enough sleep. >> william rockefeller reportedly went to bed, sleeping for about seven hours. metro north stipulates that employees are required to have eight hours of time off.
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with no traces of alcohol and no evidence suggesting he used his cell phone, the m.t.s.b. will look into his schedule to determine it he was overworked. william rockefeller was in the second day of a friday work week, a schedule started two weeks prior to the crash. >> there's every indication that he would have had full restorative sleep. was he conscious at all times? it's mature to say yes, he was or wasn't. >> there was no equipment failure or track problem. this is a serious situation. the operator has rights. >> william rockefeller, who is cooperating m.t.s.b. investigators has been placed on unpaid leave. his union rep says he's traumatised. i don't know how he's coping with the fact that he may have been responsible for the death of four people and 63 injured.
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i can't imagine it. knowing the personality he is. that will weigh on him for the rest of his life. >> with the flipped cars cleared and commuters back to travelling along the route, answers as to what happened will not come quickly. >> the ant m.t.s.b. says a repo wen be ready for mondays. >> the employees union has been removed from the investigate sitting confidentiality when they were removed. >> metro north service trains are running again on the hudson line. service will be about 98% today, even though trains are running in both directions on one track. scattered 15 minute delays are expected. two other tracks are being repaired after the derailment on sunday. >> vice president joe biden is in china, a second stop on a
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trip to the far east. both nations claim a group of violence in the east china sea and china declared that its air defense zone over them. biden made it clear that the dispute is an international concern. >> the united states is deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the east china sea. before joe biden arrived chinese defense officials issued a statement reafirming the claim on the area. >> a group spokesman says a hezbollah senior was shot outside his home in beirut. he was rushed to a hospital but died of his wounds. hezbollah is a powerful, political and military organization made up of shia muslims. and hezbollah is pointing the finger at saudi arabia for an
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attack on an iranian embassy. the double suicide bombing in beirut killed 25 people. a group linked to al qaeda had claimed responsibility. on-lebanese tv the chief said he believes that group has connections to saudi intelligence agents. >> the thai leader of the opposition group says she should be ousted. >> protesters are cleaning up the streets of bangkok after demonstrations. they are helping to tidy the streets before the king's birthday on thursday. a leader said demonstrations would be suspended out of respect for the king, but would resume after the ceremonies. >> russia's statement to ukrainian officials came as protesters are threatening to tighten their blockade around
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government buildings. [ chants ] >> they have taken over kiev's stay hall and occupied a key plaza. the demonstrators are persisting after a no confidence vote in the current government failed. we have this report from kiev. >> it seems like we reached a sfail mate after the political activity on tuesday, when the government survive the confidence vote in parliament. it seems likes the government is secure for the moment. the president viktor yanukovych is out of the country in china on diplomatic business, and the protesters here in independence square and other parts of the capital kiev seem like they are here for the long hall. they are digging in. this place, kiev, independence square seems to be turning into a canvas city. big army tents have been put up and pegs driven into the tarmac
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of the road. you have burners, where people are keeping warm because the ukrainian winter is biting. a stage behind me where muk and speakers are keeping people motivated. protesters will be here for a while, it seems. two solutions. either the government gets more hardline than it has been at the moment and tries to clear the protesters out, or they get what they want, which is the resignation of the government and the president viktor yanukovych. >> al jazeera's rory chal and reporting with the latest in key eave. >> detroit can now add a new title. the nation's bankrupt city. it clears the way for sweeping cuts in pensions and retirement cuts of workers.
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bond holders could face major losses. >> lawmakers in illinois are trying to decide the pension crisis. governor pat quinn says he'll sign the bill. unions are threatening to sue. the pension system has an unfunded liability of $100 billion. ron emanual said he has serious debt problems saying. . >> let's get a check of the forecast. frigid temperatures in a large portion of the country. more more than that, metrologist mitch is joining us. >> this system has a bit of everything. not only temperatures that are dropping.
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you see during the day when textures go up, they continue to drop. they'll do that as they head to the weekend. wide-spread snow. enough moisture. we have seen places picking up a couple feet. anywhere from minnesota to colorado have had excessive amounts. it will be a rough go. minneapolis is getting snow. some places have cancellations, you may want to check that. arctic blasts setting in thursday, friday, saturday, with some temperatures going above zero and a few of the northern cities. by the time we get to the weekend, that core of air on the east coast, and that will change over the weekend. look at the highs, and possibly colder, the morning starts and temperatures for the day on saturday.
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as all this spreads south wards, what i'm concerned about is arkansas and oklahoma, we can have ice accumulations by the commute tomorrow. be careful as you head out on the roads. that's why we have so many storm warnings starting to spread south to get people prepared. back to you. four years ago american alan gross was in cuba working on an internet project for the u.s. government the the night before he was supposed to return the cuban government aarrested him and accused him of working on a subversive product. he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. libby casey has the story. >> alan gross's wife judy described him as a man who wanted to help the world. >> he was a happy personality.
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that challenged a bit in the past four years. people do not recognise him when they see pictures of him. decades of the humanitarian workers led the goal for a project run by u.s. agencies. the goal setting up internet actions. now he's languishing in a gaol cell 23 hours a day. he's lost weight, help and hope. judy says her husband feels like he's been forgotten. >> what could be worse, thinking your government wasn't doing anything to bring you home. >> supporters led a demonstration on the white house. acting for president obama to get involved. >> judy wrote a letter from her government to help her husband. >> jay carney says obama is
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involved. >> the president himself personally engaged foreign leaders and international figures to use their influence. the state department kept this case at the forefront with the cuban government and made clear the importance the united states placed on his welfare. former secretary of state hillary clinton told a house panel last year that alan grows deserves to come home, but the u.s. government is not offering a deal to cuba. >> at no point has the united states government been willing to give unilateral concessions or ease sanctions as a means to secure mr groses release. >> it's unclear what cuba would bargain for.
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but the grose family says there's only one way to find out - by talking. >> gross's wife said he's lost weight and his hopes are fading. >> president obama making a push for the affordable care act. >> he's kicking off a 3-week campaign to promote health reform. >> what he's trying to do. a major employer looks to snuff out prospect ist employees. how a ban on smokers could have ruple effects. $141,300 million, it's a big number, a big pay check. some of the employs are relying on uncle sam to pay their bills.
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>> welcome back, we are doubling up the big number - 141.3 billion. that number represents the profits for the banking industry in 2012. that allowed the top chief expects of the biggest banks to
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pocket a salary of $15.5 billion. sounds like a good year for everyone working in the sector. >> you would be wrong. look at the second big number. $900 million. that's the amount of tax dollars spent supplementing the wages of bank bank tellers. a third of bank-tellers had to rely on assistance. >> last year tellers had a median salary of $24,100. that's about $11.39 an hour. >> welcome back to al jazeera america. the obama administration is looking to undo the damage to the affordable care act's image done by the problems, of course,
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with the problem plagued website. in a moment we'll look at what the president needs to do during his campaign to accomplish that. >> first let's look at the temperatures across the nation. metrologist nicole mitchell is here. >> we have a contrast once we get to the southern plains today - going to the 20s or 30s. houston is at 71. this is where it's really gotten brutal. single-digit temperatures. adding in the wind. feels like 30 below. this is going to be a spreading sign over the weekend. the wind chills that are really brutal out there. the cold air will settle and over the next couple of days the warmer spots in the south - innocently it while you have it. although not the negatives. they will change over the next
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couple of days, houston at 82 - it won't be long-lived. >> looking to reverse weeks of bad publicity about the federal healthcare website barack obama urged americans to ignore the critics saying they are rooting for the affordable care act to fail. >> i said i would work with anybody to implement and improve the law effectively. if you've got good ideas, bring them to me. let's go. but we are not repealing it as long as i'm president. >> the president's speech kicked off the administration's 3-week campaign, the sign off deadline for coverage at the start of next year is december 23rdrd. >> wendell potter joins us, an analyst from the public integrity book. and the author of a book.
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he joins us from philadelphia. good morning to you. that is a great place to start. at what you point. at this point what does everyone need to know about obamacare. >> it's here, it's been on the books for 3.5 years. it does a lot of good for a lot of people. there has been a lot of conflicting information. it will affect every one of us. we need to over the coming weeks figure out how it will affect us and our families. >> the president made a push to get young adults to sign up. is there one group more than others. >> the people who are most motivated are those among the 50 million to have not had insurance. they've been barred from buying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or their policies have been too expensive, or what they've been offered to buy is too expensive.
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they are the most motivated. you'll see a lot of young people buying - i saw in connecticut a substantial percentage of people buying coverage on that exchange are young people. also keep in mind it's a myth that people who are young think of themselves as invincible. they don't want to go without insurance. when they are told they can get coverage at an affordable price, they'll sign up. >> let's talk about the sell. what does the president need to sell over the campaign. >> he's going to have to take us back to an understanding. he has to explain how the affordable care act or obamacare has worked and is working to solve the problems and get more people in to plans that are affordable so we can have access to affordable health care. he'll have to explain what the real world was like before the
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affordable care act, in which many millions of us could not go to the doctor or get her medication, because we couldn't afford it. it makes health care affordable, accessible. he'll have to explain the major den fits of the law. the president has a lot of explaining to do. do you think the president can reverse the negative public opinion. >> i think he can play a big role. you'll see others who are long supporters of reform playing a role. what will change public opinion is people becoming aware of what is in the law, and how it will affect them. that's when you'll see the poll numbers changing, when people realise that, number one, it doesn't affect them in an adverse way or minimally. that they or people they know are benefitting in a significant way. that's when things will change.
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on one side you have public opinion, you love or hate it. what is the insurance industry thinking? >> i don't think you can say they are a monolithic entity. they vary in the ways they benefit in the exchanges. some of the smaller ones, and the nonprofit health plans, and there are many that operate on a nonprofit basis. over the next few weeks they are advertising to attract people to enroll in the health plan. some of the for-profit companies are not sure. this is a brand new market. they've not been interested in signing up individuals. they much prefer working with large corporations, they are not keen on the affordable care act, but i think you'll see a lot of insurance companies doing what they can to work with the administration, to make sure they are enrolling people and
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giving people access to care. >> we'll see what the future hold. >> harry potter. senior analyst joining us from philadelphia. >> u.s. and other n.a.t.o. leaders are meeting in brussels, hoping to pressure hamid karzai to sign a security pact. it would allow american and n.a.t.o. troops to stay in the country past 2014. >> it would help the country move away from its dependence on foreign military power. paul brennon is in kiev. n.a.t.o. missions will meet with the afghan foreign ministers. could they be closer to sealing a deal here? >> i hope so. the issue is whether or not the afghan today tonight, hamid karzai will put pen to paper on a deal that the u.s. secretary of state believes has been agreed. the deal was done a month ago.
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why hamid karzai is refusing to put pen to paper and sign it off in official format. john kerry refused to speculate. but the importance of this cannot be understated. you have around 50 nations that are contributing at the moment. the operation to stablilize afghanistan, there's a need for continuing presence after 2014, and that needs to be put on a form 58 basis, that needs a signature. otherwise the u.s. will withdraw the troops. any signature. when it comes to president hamid karzai, he's adamant he will not sign it. what are relationships like with hamid karzai and n.a.t.o. and the u.s. >> undoubtedly they are strained. there's no doubt about that.
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national security advisor susan rice travelled to kabul. she came away empty handed. john kerry, the u.s. secretary of state believed the deal was done. he's been saying that president obama was unhappy. given the sacrifices of u.s. troops and the american nation to help afghanistan, that this should be left to such a last-minute decision. it really is straining relations between afghanistan and america. >> al jazeera's paul brenan following events in brussels. thank you. taking a look at business headlines. some of the world's biggest banks, including jpmorgan chase and citigroup are faced with fines for manipulating interest rates. it's the biggest fine ever levied by the european
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commission. wall street seems to have some of its moo back, do you futures up 14 points after the blue chips closed lower. the dow jones industrial fell below the 16,000 mark. the nasdaq holding above. in asia. markets ended lower. japan led the decline. chinese shares rallied on news of financial reforms in the region. >> the obama administration is expresses concerns between a chinesees telekom company and south korea. the firm's equipment could be used to spy on communications between it two allies. quadway was blocked on bidding in australia after the obama
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administration expressed similar concerns. >> there's a strong message for employees - if you smoke, we don't want you. they won't hire people testing positive for tobacco use. more on what some believe could be a trend. >> cinna is a leading insurance company with thousands of employees. it is changing its policy telling future employees, "you cannot work for us if you smoke tobacco or use e-cigarettes." >> the question is whether your employer an have a say in what you do. >> prospective employees will be tested for drug use and nicotine use. >> nation-wide cops will have to
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tailor their policies in select states where it's legal to do so. 31 states including texas, arizona and massachusetts allow employees to test for nick phone. based on the results, sig na reserves the right to dismiss employees. they said in a statement: >> the move is also designed to reduce health care costs. according to the ct c smoking is estimated to be responsible for $200 billion in annual health-related losses. the c d.c. says nicotine is found in blood and can be measured in hair and saliva. >> health-care related
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businesses are doing this, other companies: >> sig na says it's using yoourn tests for screenings but has not clarified whether it will repeat tests for people who failed. >> the calls for help at sandy hook. >> officials set to release the 911 tapes from the massacre from the school. >> we talk about one person about the reaction of those calls. >> a problem for major cities. >> in sport. if you can't beat them, sign them. the new york yankees gave an alstar a lot of money.
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good morning, and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. >> i'm thomas drayton. good to have you with us. painful memories. we are approaching the one year anniversary of the shooting at sandy hook elementary school, in newtown. in which 26 children and six adults from killed when adam lanza opened fire. recordings of the calls, the 911, will be released. after a legal battle and debate over whether to keep them private, there were concerns that the release will bring back the horror and pain of that awful day. coming up in a few moments we'll talk to a newtown resident to get a take on the communities stance on this. figures from the federal government shows homelessness across the country has gone down. it's not the case in some major cities, including los angeles, which saw a double-digit increase.
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we'll find out what is fuelling the rise. first, the recordings of calls made to 911 during the sandy hook mass anger will be released to the media this afternoon. a connecticut judge ruled that they should be released so the public can see what the police response was. >> joining us now to discuss the release is leo maguire. mr maguire, thank you for being with us. let me startly asking. do you think there was a compelling case for not releasing the 911 tapes. >> it dependents where the investigations are going. i had an opportunity to speak to the police chief of newtown about the response. from all - from all perspectives, this investigation
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is effectively over. unless there are some other compelling reasons, i don't see a reason why the police department would not release this. >> on the other hand, backing what you said. katherine carol said, "this was a horrible grahcrime: >> let me ask you this - are there ever circumstances justifying the withholding of 911 tapes. there's a moral obligation by reporting agencies. the ofirnals in connecticut, and the nation fight with the idea of whether or not they want to victimize those families that are souvered so much and the survivos that continue to
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suffer. >> that is something that was part of the case that the connecticut state attorney argued, that the release would violate survivors's rites to have protection from victims of child abuse. it is one year from the mass anger. do you think this is an appropriate time to release the tapes. >> again, from a legal perspective time doesn't matter. whether it's today, three months ago or three months from now the victims and survivors will continue to have this squab picked of this terrible tragedy. from a public's perspective they have a right to know. and how the police men respond. we need to look at the procedures that are in place to make sure that we have better and more effective responses in the future, should a heinous act like this be replicated. >> do you think this was about
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the police not wanting to release the 911 call because they didn't want procedures examined. >> active shooting responders are well-known. it's on the internet. policies are out there. i happen to be a director of security in elementary and high schools now. the information about this response is vitally important from our response from now on. >> we'll scrutinise the tapes. >> the tapes have newtown residents thinking back to the day. with us is dan burns, a 15 year editor. he's a supermarketman. >> you were in new york on the day. >> at the time i was u.s. general editor.
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responsible for economic news. >> you got a text saying your daughter's high school was on lock down. >> i did. i was coming out of a meeting and i had a text saying there was a lock down for an unconfirmed shooting event. immediately i had to respond as a reporter and a parent. i was trying to text my daughter to confirm that she was okay. new tune high school is about a mile to sandy hook. >> when it happens close to hope, how do you fully process what happened? >> it's really difficult to, over the ensuing hours and days, i was responding to friends and neighbours who were directly affected by this. also i had a working newsroom in my kitchen for a week, with photographers and reporters and other staff coming in and out to
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cover the shooting. >> we'll talk about the 911 recordings about to be released and getyour take on it. i want to talk about the shooter adam lanza. your son walked at a move joy theatre where adam was known. >> he used to go to the danbry los to play "dance, dance revolution", he'd go and play for hours at a time on weekends typically. my son was also - he was in the same class as adam. >> how does he describe his character and demeanour? >> he didn't know him well, just as a quiet and withdrawn kid. adam was not in high school for the whole four years. he was in and out of some of the same circles, one of my son's room mates from newtown was a childhood friend.
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>> i want to talk about the circle. nancy lanza, adam's mother, you met her. >> i met her in the fall of 2010 in a bar called my place, a local pizza place. i used to go and watch fall baseball. my san francisco giants were there. she was there regularly. struck up casual conversation about play-off baseball. >> as you know, the 911 recordings will be released later today. how do you feel about that? >> as a journalist i understand the press needs to know, but as a newtown resident i'm not that interested in hearing them. i know there's a lot of trepidation and fatigue among neighbours and others about this. it's been really an unending wait on the community. >> here we are one year later.
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what are the feelings? >> as i said, fatigue. people are looking forward to getting past the anniversary next saturday. and hopefully, you know, we can fade from the spotlight a bit. >> emotions are still there. dan burns, i appreciate your time on reflecting back on that tragic day, december 14th. vice president joe biden is walking a diplomatic tight rope. he arrived in beijing. while in tokyo he addressed u.s. concern. both tokyo and china claim islands in the east china sea. >> we the united states is deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the east cha.
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>> but after arriving in china joe biden seemed to soften histone. in talks with the vice president he expressed the need for strong relations and respect between washington and beijing. >> this is a usual conse question shall relationship -- consequent shall relationships in the 21 century. it calls for sustained high-level engagement. that is why the president of the united states asked me to be here. i'm honoured to be here. >> before joe biden arrived chinese defense officials issued a statement reaffirming their claim on the area. homelessness is on the rise in new york and los angeles. we explore what may be behind the problem in la. >> this is home sweet home. >> home sweet home for tc
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alexander. this is alexander's living room, kitchen, library and bedroom. >> you never get a full night sleep. you never know what will happen. different thing, different night. >> one thing he knows is happening is the streets are getting crowded. >> lines are getting bigger for food. people are in desperate situations. >> it's getting worse. >> the nations homeless population dropped according to the department of housing and urban development. los angeles's homeless jumped 15% since 2011, with close to 50,000 people living on the streets. a reason for the rise is the passage of the state's prison realignment measure, leading to the release of thousands of prisoners. >> the release of prisoners had an impact on homelessness. a lot of folks discharged to the streets end up in our system of
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care. the federal level, the formula used to allocate assistance is disconnected from me. at the state level the state does nothing to address hemlessness. they push the responsibility to the counties in the city. >> at the end of the day, there are few places homeless people can go to seek shelter. of 50,000, 75% have nowhere to go. on any given night there are 4,000 emergency beds available. >> these are our grandparents, grandmothers and children on the streets. the solution is getting people housed. that is where pap, here they can find temporary shelter. they need permanent housing. >> until communities are willing to say enough is enough, we need
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to house these people, homelessness is not going to go away. >> it's likely going to get more crowded at the beaches, valleys and skid row as tens of thousands lay claim to life on the streets. >> the la city council is considering a ban on feeding the homeless in public areas. a few city council members introduced a resolution after complaints from residence, arguing meal lines should be moved indoors. construction is behind schedule on three of the venues for the f.i.f.a. world cup. two stadiums will be finished by february. they are not sure about the sao paulo venue. a crane collapsed, killing three and damaging the roof. >> ross shimabuku joins us with sport. the new york yankees making
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headlines. >> at a time when everyone is stopping for a deal the new york yankees are spending money, jacoby ellsbury to a 7-year deal worth $$153. they gave brian mccann $85 million. they are stirring it up. ellsbury won two world series titles. now he'll be in yankee pinstrikes. he's a slick fielding center fielder. at 30 years young - can he stay healthy? >> in short and life in germ you can tell a lot about a person's character. the friction is ugly with jason kidd in his first year as coach has rea-lawrence frank to a role where he will not be able to attend pros or games. they have been struggling on
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defense, led by frank. will the coaching change help? >> not close. they were worked by the newing et cetera. kenneth read showing off. opening a 20-point lead. nets dropped for 5-13 on the season. we have never had a game in the n.b.a. where two rookies posted triple doubles. it happened between the magic and sixers. orlando magiced player scored 26. including to glen days. >> marcus as well got a fifth. glen davies tied up to force overtime young comes up with the money shot. parker number 10 up against
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michigan in the a.c.c. big 10 challenge. andre doc k -- docker lighting t up. as for the freshman sensation. this kid is social. he ended up with 16.64. the sudukis winning. now an assistant of the ulc. s sarkisia replaces and has spent the five seasons at university of washington. >> i spent seven years as assistant coach. five of the seven we went to
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rose bowls. i know how special the place is, the tradition, passion, support, the standard of excellence, the fans, the los angeles memorial colosseum. i can't wait for the first time to run out of that. i can't wait for it. sarkisian is talking championships. a new warning about global warning. scientists say there's a greater risk. >> steps calling for to protect them becoming a reality. >> and a new way for bicycle riders to stay safe without messing up their hair.
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the stream is uniquely interactive television.tñ
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you are waking up to a live look at a very snowy minneapolis. nice to look at, but no fun getting around. folks there are facing a very messy commute. >> and it is a similar story here in denver. good morning.
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>> that time of year, isn't it? >> yes, it is. good morning and welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. >> and i'm thomas. safety is a major concern for bicycle riders around the world. for some ride despite the dangers they don't want to wear a helmet. we'll talk about that. >> but first our weather. >> there has been a little rain along the eastern seaboard. denver and minneapolis both have been getting snow this morning. denver has cold air that has already come in , and minneapolis running at about 30. as this sinks southward it is going to be possibly freezing
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precipitation for tomorrow morning's commute. and it only takes .2 of an inch to knock down power lines. so we'll watch that closely. a new study is raising concerns over global warmings impact on our climates. scientists say heat and wes cause more dangers to the planet than are dramatic changes. these types of changes are likely to happen more often in coming decades and are calling on the government to create a warning system. some rare books are going online. the vatican is working with oxford university on the three-year project. their collections of manuscripts
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will be digitized. it is a growing problem on streets everywhere, people riding bikes without helmets. linda has more. >> reporter: cycling is a big part of life in sweden, about 80% of people ride bikes as part of the daily commute and pleasure, but only a third wear helmets. >> i have never fallen on my head. >> i crashed with a helmet once and it just cracked in two pieces, so rather the helmet than my head. >> when we were kids we never used a helmet. >> reporter: two so design students decided to create a helmet that people would actually want to wear. it mixes high-tech with high
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fashion. >> they wanted something that was more discrete, something that would not interfere with their hair styles for instance. and people were also asking for something invisible. >> reporter: unlike a traditional helmet, it is wrapped around your neck, you zip it up, and you activate it. the collar analyzes movements 200 times per second. when the rider is in a crash an air bag deploys and wraps around your neck. road safety experts say ininitiative to protect riders is welcome. >> we are working now to
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increase the helmet use. >> reporter: once it is deployed, it can't be reused and at $540 apiece, some see it as an expensive investment. but intoe vat fors are hoping it will become an essential part of a uniform. and turn the idea of bike safety on its head. >> according to the institute for highway safety, 75% of cyclists killed in accidents were not wearing protection. an attorney says the engineers of at the controls of a derailed train in new york city was dazed before the accident. vice president joe biden has arrived in china, and meetings with chinese leader ts bide inis expected to discuss a
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territorial dispute with japan. pensions are taking hits in illinois. lawmakers in illinois passed a bill to cut retirees benefits. the supreme court takes on frequent fliers and the rights they have in disputes over their miles and other bonuses. how the high court's ruling could impact you. in sports the nets struggling big time with jason kidd. so kidd decided to pull the plug on his former head coach. from arctic air to treacherous roads i'll have the latest across the country. >> we'll be right back.
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rescuing stranded residents. (vo) we pursue that story beyond the headline, past the spokesperson, to the streets. >> thousands of riot police deployed across the capitol. (vo) we put all of our global resources behind every story. >> it is a scene of utter devastation. (vo) and follow it no matter where it leads, all the way to you. al jazeera america. take a new look at news. determining using some sort of subjective interpretation of their policy as to whether or not your particular report was actually abusive, because if it doesn't contain language that specifically threatens you directly or is targeted towards you specifically, they may not consider it abuse. they may consider it offensive. and in that case they just recommend that you block that person. >> i don't want to minimise this, because i mean, there's some really horrible things that
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are on line, and it's not - it's not just twitter, what has happened through social media and the anonymity of the net is that you see websites, hate-filled websites targetting all sorts of groups, popping up. there has been a huge number of those that exist as well. >> fault lines investigates... fracking >> shale gas development could actually double the economic growth rates in the province. >> this is our land for thousands of years... >> do you drink money? you must have a lot of money to drink... >> as tensions rise, and protests turn violent, where will the debate lead? >> the situation was no longer peaceful or safe... >> they were bashing my head with their boots... they had their guns on me and everything.... >> how much more real can this get? >> fault lines only on al jazeera america
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pensions are taking a hit in two states, how a court ruling in one and a new law in another opened the door for cutting retiree benefits. the new york commuter train investigation is now focused on the engineer. vice president joe biden top priority in beijing, security in the skies. he is trying to find a diplomatic solution between china and japan. a frequent flyers admits he was always a frequent complainer. and now the supreme court will weigh in on whether the airline had the right to boot him from
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his reward program. ♪ good morning, and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. cities across the country are dealing with crushing debt and surging pension costs. a northwestern university study says the total unfunded pension liability for all u.s. cities and counties is now $574 billion. now thosing mounts financial problems are creating risks. in illinois lawmakers have stepped in to solve the worst crisis of $100 billion. the legislation passed a bill to trim retiree benefits. unions are threatening to sue. >> this is the triumph of politics over the rule of law, and we will be in court. and in in a case that started in fort worth, texas a
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court ruling gives employers a way to keep their employees from suing them. the ruling helps businesses avoid costly court cases but stops workers from banding together to challenge a legal labor -- illegal labor practices. in detroit a michigan judge ruled the city may declare bankruptcy. diane estherbrook has details. >> reporter: the judge's ruling gives the city manager the green light to cut pensions, sell city assets and restructure debt to creditors. outside the federal court retirees protested. this retiree called the ruling a death sentence for detroit. >> services of city residences will be slashed. our pensions might go on the
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chopping block. our artist -- art institute might be sold off. >> reporter: in the judge's ruling he said, quote . . . in a controversial decision, rhodes said retiree pensions could be on the chopping block, saying the state's constitution treats them like any other contract. the unions say they will press their case with kevyn orr as he draws up the bankruptcy plan. >> when you are an institutional creditor, you make investment decisions. if you work for the city for your entire life and then retire and then somebody just says sorry didn't really mean it, that's a very different
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situation. >> reporter: orr told reporters he is willing to work with the unions. >> i can tell them we're trying to be very thoughtful, measured and humane about what we have to do. but the reality is there is not enough money to address the situation no matter what we do. according to the bureau of labor statistics, there are 14.4 million union workers in in the us. that's about 11% of the american work force. and new york has the highest membership rate of any state with about 23%. the city can also sell off city assets such as water and sewer authority, and its priceless art collection. the judge who gave the green light said selling the art collection would not have helped the city avoid bankruptcy. steven rhodes said auctioning
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the art would have been quote, a onetime infusion of cash, and would only delay the city's inevitable financial failure. a major develop in the commuter train derailment. a union rep for the engineer involved in the crash says the man told him he nodded off at the controls. it happened while the train was heading for a sharp curve at 82 miles an hour. the ntsbhas removed the union from its investigation. meant row -- metro north says most train service has been restored. >> reporter: for the first time since sunday's metro north train derailment outside of new york city, which left four dead and dozens injured, attention the shifting away from mechanical failure and focusing on the train's engineer. >> based on this data there is
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no indication that the break systems were not functioning. >> reporter: two remembers of william rockefeller's own camp suggested human error was to blame. the engineer suffered from what he called highway hip notice. rockefeller revealed to him that he had nodded off just before the moment. >> sometimes a momentary nod, how long it lasts, i can't answer that. he caught himself, but he caught himself too late. rockefeller has been with metro north for 20 years, serving 11 of those years as the engineer. but it is the critical seconds before the crash that will be scrutinized. rockefeller had reportedly gone to bed at 8:30 before the wreck, sleeping for about seven hours. employees are required to have at least 8 hours of rest before
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a shift. with no traces of alcohol in his system, the ntsb will also look into rockefellers schedule to determine if he was overworked. he was in the second day of a five-day workweek, a schedule he started two weeks prior to the crash. >> there is every indication that he would have had time to get full restorative sleep. was the engineer fully conscious at all times? it's premature to be able to say yes or no. >> there was no equipment failure, no track problem, and this is now a very serious situation. >> reporter: rockefeller who is cooperating with investigators has been placed on unpaid leave. >> i don't know how he's coping with the fact that he may have been responsible for the death of four people and 63 injured. i -- i can't imagine that. because knowing the type of
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personality he is, that is going to weigh on him for the rest of his life. >> reporter: with the flip cars cleared and commuters back to traveling along the route where four dies answers won't come quickly. the ntsb says a final report won't be ready for months. the new york city police department is also investigating along with the bronx district attorney in the event it becomes a criminal case. a storm in colorado is blowing in freezing temperatures from the arctic and it could bring up to two feet of snow in some mountain areas. the highs might not even break double digits >> that was a the look at the colorado side of it, but there have been numerous places with copious amount of snow. for the last 24 hours, if we go back not tomorrow but the day
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before, duluth has had almost consistent snow. you can see this as come covering a car out there. two harbors have reported officially two meet. as we get back to the radar, you can see a lot of people will be digging out across the region with this snow. not everyone is disappointed by it. i have heard a lot of -- my family is in minnesota, so a lot of people getting the skis waxed, but it will be very treacherous on interstates like 90 and 94. and this will be spreading its way southward so into the day tomorrow with a little warm air mixed in, it could be the freezing precipitation we're dealing with, plus those temperatures going negative in some cases. so that moisture that i was talking about, eventually it will make its way to the east coast for the weekend.
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anywhere from missouri into northern parts of texas, that will be the corridor we're watching for the freezing rain. tomorrow's commute could be rather treacherous and we could have those power outages because of the ice accumulation. and thursday still warm along the east coast and then the cooler air will move in just in time for the weekend. of course there is the cold side of all of this as i was referencing. back to you. vice president joe biden is walking a diplomatic tight rope in asia. he is now in china. bidening arrived in beijing today after meeting with japanese leaders on tuesday. he expressed concern about the territorial dispute between china and japan. china declared that its air defense zone includes the air
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space over a disputed area. >> we are deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the east china sea. >> in talks with china's vice president he stressed the need for strong relations and respect between washington and beijing. >> this is a hugely consequential relationship that will effect the course of the 21st century, and like all complex relationships, mr. vice president, it calls for us is contained high-level engagement, and that's why the president of the united states asked me to be here, and i'm honored to be here. >> chinese defense officials issued a statement reaffirming their military claim on the area. u.s. and other nato leaders are meeting in brussels. they want to pressure hamid karzai to sign a security pack
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that would allow u.s. and nato troops to stay in the country past 2014. the u.s. has urged afghanistan to approve a security deal before the end of the year, but secretary of state john kerry stayed tuesday there is no hard deadline. the u.s. has suspended shims out of afghanistan through pakistan. the pentagon said tuesday that it's part of the plan to withdraw troops from afghanistan by the end of next year. the border shutdown comes amid protests over u.s. drone strikes in pakistan. the new routes take more time and cost more. the united nations is now using drones. for the first time the un confirms its peace keepers are seconding unmanned aircraft to monitor activity. al jazeera james bayes has more. >> reporter: it is a first, taking to the skies.
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the un has fleets of white-painted suvs, trucks, helicopters, and planes, but now the first unmanned aerial aircraft more commonly known as a drone. unlike those of many militaries, it's equipped only with a camera, not armed with missiles. after years of bloodshed the idea is to monitor a fragile peace deal in eastern congo. >> this is something we never heard, but this is now being used in in many armies in the world and in organizations. we had to get it, you know, to allow our people to do an even better job. >> reporter: the current president of the undersecurity council says drone technology is becoming common place, not much more sophisticated than a toy model aircraft.
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and he believes the un will end up using many more of them. >> translator: there are other missions who are saying already we will need drones that would considerably improve protection of soldiers to see if threats are out there, and also to ensure protection of civilians. >> reporter: for now the un says the drones in the congo are a one off, but their effectiveness is being monitored. the war in the democratic republic of congo has claimed close to 3 million lives. ukraine's deputy prime minister is on his way to moscow for trade talks today. and the ukrainian president is discussing economic agreements with china. in the ukraine protesters are showing no signs of backing down any time soon. the protesters are threatening to tighten their blockade around
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government buildings. they have taken over city hall in kiev and occupied a city building. thailand's kovment says the leader of the opposition group that wants to oust the prime minister should surrender. the leader a former deputy prime minister denies the charges. protesters are cleaning up the streets of bangkok after their demonstration. >> reporter: in less than a day it went from rows of riot police to rows of street sweepers. with a truce in place, workers cleared and scrubbed the area around the longest-held protest site. like they have for the last ten days, these two pitched in, in previous days protesting, but today cleaning. traveling in in from the
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privileged part of bangkok, the two have been friends for years. >> at least we make a point and make our presence felt, and that even though the goal may be remote. >> reporter: that goal being the resignation of the prime minister. >> the government still insists that they -- they don't care about millions of people that come out and they still think that things are normal. >> reporter: on the other side of town they are not cleaning up, they are still protesting. they came here demanding that there be investigations in shootings over the weekend. they came for a couple of hours. now they are leaving peacefully. among them are these two. the friends work for the same company in a nearby office. they too have been protesting together. for over a month heading to the rallies during their lunch break. how do you think the future looks right now >> i think everybody now is
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pushing for the revolution from the military. it is only one hope that we have now. >> reporter: the army has made it clear, it is staying neutral. since there has been no movement by either side it is difficult to see what could break this impasse. but one for one day, the nation will be in agreement, celebrating the king's birthday. a leader of the protests said demonstrations would be suspended out of respect for the king, but would resume after the ceremonies honoring him. it's music to their ears. ♪ professional musicians getting health insurance for the first time. why some of them are enthusiastic about obamacare. and how some schools are using technology to help students overcome severe disabilities. and to smoke or not to smoke. that's the question for some folks when it comes to
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e-cigarettes. and a live look now at the roads in minneapolis. it's 2 -- 29 degrees there right now with a light snow falling. power of the people until we restore our freedoms a
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good morning, and welcome back to al jazeera america. item -- i'm stephanie sy. obamacare is hitting a high note with some professional musicians. but first let's took at the temperatures across the nation today. good morning, 40 degrees two days agoteens today. ahead of the front we have 60s and 70s, but those will moderate over the next couple of days. rapid city in the single digits for temperatures but sustained winds in the 30 mile an hour range make it feel like almost minus 30 degrees. and more of that cold air will
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sink in to place as we get into thursday and friday as the front moves along. that will sink southward and slowly eastward too. some temperature drops by the weekend, but look as we get into the next couple of days. minneapolis i in the 30s today. by this weekend, friday, saturday will hover right around zero in some cases. back to you. >> nicole, thank you. undocumented immigrants may now g get driver's licenses. supports of the law say about 250,000 undocumented immigrants are already driving in the state. the new law requires them to take driving tests and buy insurance. the house passes the first federal gun legislation since the sandy hook massacre. . it's the extension of a 1988 law
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banning guns that can't be spotted with x rays or metal detectors. advocates say it's too easy to print and produce a plastic gun. a new white house campaign to promote healthcare reform is underway. it's a three-week strategy to encourage medical insurance signups under the affordable care act. >> i have always said, i will work with anybody to implement and improve this law effectively. you got good ideas, bring them to me. let's go. but we're not repealing it as long as i'm president. i want everybody to be clear about that. [ applause ] >> the signup-deadline for individuals who want medical
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coverage is december 23rd, that is pushing a nonprofit group in nashville to help struggling musicians navigate the site. robert ray has the story. >> reporter: look in any direction on any corner and there is a singer, song writer and melody maker. nashville, where andy peek has been playing clubs for nearly 30 years, giving gig to gig, with little and sometimes no health insurance. >> they were expensive. they were hard to qualify for. if you had any preexisting conditions, boom, you were out of it. and the nature of being a musician was like a roller coaster ride. >> reporter: despite all of the money that the musicians bring in, over 76% of them have no access to group health care benefits. >> you would be surpriseded at
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the amount of people that we have talked to in the last two to three months that probably make less than $12,000 a year. >> reporter: and that's one of the reasons a new nonprofit organization the music health alliance based in nashville has been counseling maybes of the music industry about health services soon to be available. >> we are helping the people before they get on the radio, and we are helping those people after that hit their heyday. >> reporter: it's clients are artists like andy peek who received help dealing with the healthcare.gov website. >> if you are trying to navigate through the system and you keep getting kicked off, it's difficult. >> reporter: former record care industry workers say the promise of health care is worth the
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tempora temporary frustrations. >> a lot of it is the education. they are almost afraid to go through the process. >> reporter: for andy peek he had confusion and fear about the affordable care act. so he stopped his application process. i can't want to punch the button and sign up for still having to pay 280 to $300 a month and add that to my meager income. >> reporter: as the dust settled, he said counseling him help him sign up. now he will pay around $150 a month. and that could allow him to pursue his passion for performing for the rest of his life. the administration says healthcare.gov is functional now for 80% of users.
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. in the private payroll firm, adp says 250,000 jobs were created in november. the firm revised upward the october number. also on tap today reports on new home sales for september and october, increases are expected despite higher mortgage rates. mortgage applications fell last week because of a big drop in refinancing. stock futures for higher for most of the mourning, but right now, dow futures are down 24 points. the dow jones industrial average falling below the 16,000 mark. the s&p is up. european markets are down after three days of losses. japan lead the decline, falling
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more than 2%. chinese shares rallied on news of financial reforms in the region. some of the world's biggest banks including citigroup and jpmorgan are being hit with $2.3 billion in fines for manipulating key interest rates. it's the biggest fine ever levied by the european commission. news week is coming back from the dead. a new owner says it will revive the print version of the magazine. just last year, news weeks previous owner announced the 80-year-old publication would be online only. remember former tyco ceo? he was convicted of stealing more than $100 million from the company because of his lavish lifestyle. now he has been granted parole. after an at it-year sentence.
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but on one condition, he has to find a job. an unusual family aware, unfolding in north korea. the uncle of the country's leader has been removed from power. why some see it as a seismic shift for that country. plus a first class confrontation, a frequent flyer suing an airline. a case that has made its way all the way to the supreme court. and a shocking discovery at the bottom of the ocean a man was trapped in a sunken boat for three days. the new york yankees agreed to terms with a boston red sox all-star and they gave him a lot of money. we'll have the details. and taking you live to denver where the roads are covered in snow, it's 7 degrees, and that snow will continue to fall throughout the day. ♪
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agree to anything in washington no matter what. >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> we've heard you talk about the history of suicide in your family. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but, what about buying shares in a professional athlete?
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>> every sunday night al jazeera america brings you controversial... >> both parties are owned by the corporations. >> ..entertaining >> it's fun to play with ideas. >> ...thought provoking >> get your damn education. >> ...surprising >> oh, absolutely! >> ...exclusive one-on-one interviews with the most interesting people of our time. >> you're listening because you want to see what's going to happen. >> i want to know what works what do you know works? >> conversations you won't find anywhere else. >> talk to al jazeera. >> only on al jazeera america. >> oh my!
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welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. and these are our top stories at this hour. trains are rolling again on the new york city line where a train derailed. the engineer who was at the controls may have nodded off before the crash according to a union rep who spoke with the driver, william rockefeller. alcohol tests were negative. investigators say the engineer would have had time to get a good night's sleep before his shift. the governor of illinois says he will sign a bill that will eliminate the state's $100 billion public pension shortfall. vice president joe biden was supposed to talk trade during his trip to china, instead the focus will be on china's
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expanded air defense zone. china has threatened unspecified ak to planes that enters the areas. for more than 60 years thes kims have ruled north korea. south korea's intelligence agency says the uncle of the current leader has been removed from power. this raises questions about the stability of the country's leadership. joining us is jim walsh, research associate in watertown massachusetts. good morning. this guy is described as the number 2 in the regime. if this proves to be true, this represents a major shakeup in the regime, doesn't it? >> it's huge, stephanie.
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it's huge news, and it is big news. we're not sure why, and since we're not sure why, we're not sure what it means going forward. this was the young kim's uncle who was supposed to shepherd him through this process, and the most important organizing principle is this relationship to the country. we'll look back on this some years down the road and put our finger on these last couple of days as marking a turning point in north korean history. >> one thing we do know about un's uncle is that he was close to his father, could this indicate that kim jong un is taking a different path away from his father? >> it could mean that. unfortunately we have way more theories than facts. it seems three possibilities.
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one is he engaged in some really bad activity that got him and his aids in this trouble. another possibility is this is the consequence of an internal struggle for power. that would be a big deal because it would indicate there is still consolidation left to do. he was known as a very powerful person not only because of his family title, but also because of all of his positions, and had served for so long. another possibility is that he did nothing wrong at all, and simply this was an an affirmative move by the young kim to clear the way to make sure there was no competitor. he could be helpful to the young kim, but it also meant a potential rival and kim may be getting rid of people who may be potential rivals in the future. >> all theories, because what
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lapped in north korea is such a mystery to the rest of the world. do even the best intelligence sources have the ability to tell us what is going on? >> i think the answer is no. south korea is of the same ethnic group, and american analysts, and almost everyone gets something wrong at some point. and that is because this is the most closed country in the world. sometimes it's hard for us to figure out what is going on in washington. take that and multiply it by 500 times, and it's dynamic. it is going through a transition, so whatever was true before may have changed, so put that all together and it's very tough for folks to figure out what is going on.
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>> you bring up china and he was seen as a force of stability with its relationship with china. what could this mean for their relationship? >> when you pick up the papers in south korea this morning, that is what a lot of the speculation is about. people fear that this is the sign of bad things to come. maybe this ousting means that north korea is going to be on a more aggressive path. you can argue that what is going to happen here is that the young kim having put himself in charge with no rivals now has the confidence and freedom to pursue his own strategy. so, you know, both are plausible, and it might be something else. i think we're just going to have to wait and see.
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does jong show up ever? or what happens to the organizations that he ran? what other sort of changes do we see in north korean propaganda or movements? those will give us some indicators, but right now it could mean good news or bad news. >> thank you. there is new information on the 85-year-old u.s. veteran being held in north korea. he said he led a gorilla group in the korean war. veterans say it was hated and feared by north korea. he was pulled from an airliner after visiting as a tourist. a man in cuba is app feeling to president obama for help.
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he was arrested in havana four years ago. gross wrote an open letter to the white house saying he won't be released unless the president intervened. the white house responded saying it is trying to secure his release. >> the president has himself personally engaged foreign leaders to use their influence with cuba to promote mr. gross's release. the state department has kept mr. gross's case at the forefront, and made clear the importance the united states places on his welfare. >> his wife says he has lost a lot of weight and his hopes are fading. a new poll thinks american prestige around the world is declining. for the first time in nearly four decades americans say the u.s. is less powerful than it was a decade ago. but most of those polled believe the u.s. military is the
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strongest in the world. the u.s. supreme court is considering the case of a minnesota man who sued an airline for terminating his frequent flyer program. the airline said he complained too much. the rabbi flew enough to reach platinum elite status, but the airline which has since merged with -- delta kicked him out of the program. this raises the question can airlines decide to revoke miles from frequent complainers or for other reasons? joining us now is president and founder of airfare watch dog.com. good morning to you. an interesting case. in this case northwest airlines said it could determine quote
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its soul judgment whether a passenger has abused the program, and i'm quoting from the email the airline sent the customer . . . >> so doesn't that open the door for airlines to be able to arbitrarily decide when to cancel a flyer's points? >> yes, stephanie. your miles are not your miles. they actually do belong to the airline, and there are a lot of frequent flyers who do abuse the program. i'll give you one example, the hidden city strategy where you are flying from a to c and you get off on b with a connecting flight. because not going to city c is cheaper. and people do this all the time. and it's against airline rules.
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and if you give them your frequent flyer number they may kick you out of the program. >> i think the airline is claiming that both problems were the case, but what impact could this have on the rest of us? >> if it really is a question of complaining too much, it's going to put a damper on people complaining too much. you can get kicked off of an an inairliner for complaining too much as well. so it's very easy to get on the wrong side of an airline. i think the main point here is that those miles don't really belong to you, and the contract is in the airline's favor, and the airline's are constantly changing their contracts to -- really to promote the airline's interest rather than the frequent flyer's interest. >> is there a trend towards
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airlines being somewhat less generous on how these frequent flyer miles are used in general? >> i think people who collect frequent flyer miles may want to reconsider the whole enterprise, because the airlines keep increasing the number of miles needed, and limbing the number of seats. i had miles in virgin atlantic, and i wanted to go to london from los angeles. there were two dates in all of 2014 when i could use those miles. >> wow. >> they are getting pretty worthless, and event yulely found some dates, and last minute i might be able to find seats, but i'm finding that frequent flyer miles are very, very hard to use, and if you collect miles with a credit card, as many of us, you might be better off with a cash back
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card. i really think the freak went flyer programs are shooting themselves in the foot because they are becoming less friendly and less useful. >> so as a bottom line what do you think of this rabbi's case? >> well, if he was adducing the terms of the program, then, yes, i think the airline is justified. if he was merely complaining too much, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. there was another case before the court with a cello that was trying to get frequent flyer miles, and the airlines used to let people like musicians collect miles for an instrument, and then they said they weren't going to do it. another example is inheriting frequent flyer miles.
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now the airlines are making that harder. >> all right. gorge, founder of airfarewatch dog.com. thanks for joining us this morning. american students are falling behind the rest of the world. in new tests, u.s. students ranked 36th. the u.s. education secretary called the american results a picture of stagnation. the test was given to 15 year olds in 65 countries. about 15% of the world's population lives withment some form of disability. for children with disabilities learning can be difficult. some schools are using new technology to help them learn. al jazeera's roxanne visited school in new york. >> reporter: students come to
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this school from all over new york, some like chris in an ambulance. the 16-year-old has a disability that limits his growth and mobility. now he's on his way to earning a high school diploma. >> it taught me a lot, and told me that there are no limits, and i can do anything. >> reporter: this confidence is in large part thanks to technology like this. >> do you remember how to do that? >> no. >> reporter: it's helping 180 students with severe disabilities who might not otherwise be able to study. 20-year-old chelsea can't speak through her mouth but this tool lets her communicate by moving her eyes. >> the most recent thing is using eye gaze so you still have access to technology. >> so happy. >> reporter: around 8% of children in the u.s. are
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considered disabled, around half of them are severely disabled. under federal law all children under the age of 21 have the right to a free education. new york state now plays $77,000 for most students here. a good part of that goes to technology. in this math class the teacher is using a headset for students who can't hear. technology like this help prepare students beyond these walls. some experts question whether this will get students ready for the real world. >> the purpose of special education is to prepare students to live in the adult world. and for most of us we don't live in a segregated adult world. >> reporter: richard says the school prepared him plenty. he is now a sophomore in
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college. the only one of a set of triplets living away from home. >> it would have been much more difficult to adapt. >> reporter: chris sees the school as path to college. >> i want to study biology, go to princeton or columbia university. >> reporter: he has the power, he says, like everyone else to reach for his dreams. the un marks the 21st international day of persons with disabilities on tuesday. it's time for sports now. i hear a basketball player getting a dig payday. in fact he is my knew best friend. he is cashing in big time after agreeing to a seven-year deal worth $153 million with the new york yankees, and in the process the evil empire is
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stirring it up with their arch rival. ellsbury is a slick fielding center fielder that can do it all. but at 30 years young, the big question has always been can he stay healthy. they also gave bryan mccann $85 million to try to get back into the playoffs. so why does that leave robinson cano? now the seattle mariners are willing to open up the piggy bank and give him $200 million that he is asking for. in sports and in life in in general when things go bad you can tell a lot about a person's character. and the friction with jason kidd and the coaching staff is not good. lawrence frank will no longer be
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able to attend practices or be on the bench for games. >> it's just different philosophies, and that's it, you know. we'll figure out how to stop people. >> how disappointing is that, considering he was your coach and you had a great relationship before this. >> it's about basketball, it's about tonight, it's about denver, and that's -- you know, you move forward, you learn. but i'm focused and have to have these guys ready to go tonight. >> the night got worse as they hooped it up with denver. the nuggets went on a 27-7 run to open up a 24-point lead as the nets would lose again dropping to 5-13 on the season. now to the miami heat.
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lebron and the team have won 11 straight. oh, my goodness smith with a face on chris bosh. detroit jumped out to an 18-point lead. lebron tried to rally back. he has 23 points, but the pistons were just too tough. the pistons would go on to win it, but the birdman, chris andersen cleans up the mess. and mariota will bypass the 2014 nfl draft and return to his junior season. he is turning down millions of dollars, but hey, got to get that education. ross, thank you. new dramatic footage of an
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underwater rescue off of the coast of nigeria. divers found this man fighting to survive three days after his boat capsized. the cook survived by breathing in an air bubble and sipping on a soda. the incident happened in in may, but the extraordinary video was posted this week. e-cigarettes have become a billion dollars business, but are they a gateway to smoking?
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>> and now a techknow minute...
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welcome back to al jazeera america. just ahead the latest battle involving smoking involves e-cigaret e-cigarettes. but first let's look at the weather. >> snow this way all the way from wisconsin through parts of the rockies. some of it has been heavy at
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times. i mentioned that the winds have kicked up, and they will start to impact places like minnesota. and it could make it seem almost near blizzard conditions. and then tomorrow, freezing rain for the southern plains could be very treacherous on the roads as you start your day. cigarette ad on tv have been banned for more than 40 years, but those laws don't apply to ecigarettes. as kim berly reports it's not sitting well with everyone. >> reporter: for more than a decade, john smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. he switched to electronic cigarettes and -- >> i haven't had a regular cigarette in a year. >> reporter: that's because he
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gets his nicotine from juice in an e-cigarette. >> food tastes better and i'm back to walking a mile in in under 20 minutes. >> reporter: the almost 5,000 chemicals inhaled from traditional tobacco products are significantly reduced. >> what makes cigarettes most harmful isn't the nicotine, it's the burning. ecigarettes take away the burning and many of the most harmful chemicals. >> reporter: but the end of the year expected sales from e-cigarettes could triple in the united states. advocates argue it is safer than traditional cigarettes. but opponents say it is still a form of smoking, and the marketing lacks regulation and
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is concealing their danger. with no federal laws in place to stop it, there are now more than 250 brands of e-cigarettes being marketed in the u.s. and some of that nicotine advertising is on television. >> finally with blu, i looking back my freedom. >> when people are using these, it looks like they are smoking cigarettes. so i think the e-cigarette ads are also promoting conventional smoking. >> reporter: but not all agree it's gateway product to life-long addiction. >> e-cigarettes i think will be more likely part of the solution than part of the problem. >> reporter: the u.s. food and drug administration is expected
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to issue rules in the coming month that could lead to strict regulation of the electronic cigarettes market, until then, companies plan to keep pushing their new products as a safer alternative for those who choose to smoke. according to the american cancer society, smoking reached its peak in 1965 with about 42% of the adult population lighting up. now it's down to about 19%. last year 6% of middle school children reported smoking cigarettes. that's going to do it for this hour of al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. we'll have more news right after a short break.
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in a professional athlete? new details on what lead to that deadly plane crash in new york. the commuter train was traveling far too fast, more than 80 miles an hour down the track. the question is why? lisa stark joins us from washington. what is the latest? >> that train should have been going at 30 miles an hour around the curve. there are no published reports this morning including from
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wabc, those reports indicate that the engineer, william rockefeller has said he may have zoned out at the controls. he may have dosed off and then snapped awake too late to stop the train in time the ntsb will continue to interview the engineer and also look back at
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welcome to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. the engineer who was at the controls of the commuter train that derailed in new york city may have nodded off before the crash. that's according to a union rep who spoke with the driver william rockefeller. alcohol tests on the crew members were negative. the governor of illinois says he will sign a bill that will eliminate the state's pension shortfall. opponents say it is unfair to workers and retirees who paid into the system. vice president joe biden was